Animal Cruelty and Neglect


Defining animal cruelty is not an easy thing. An animal activist has his/her definition for animal cruelty, a farmer or a hunter define it in another way. As cruelty is emotion is expressed in different forms people defined it in different ways. A common man’s understanding regarding animal cruelty would be harmful behaviour towards animals which can be neglect by not taking adequate care to the killing of an animal.

Mahatma Gandhi has once said, “The greatness of a nation is judged by the way it treats its animal.” The movements have to stop animal cruelty has started during King Asoka’s period. He was the one who banned the killing of any animal around his kingdom in the third century. In those days people were morally controlled and any moral wrong will be prohibited and was punished for those acts. But in the modern world people in the urge of earning money become so immoral that they have started targeting animals.

Currently, there are many organizations, NGOs, and government rules and regulations to protect animals. It was rightly Abraham Lincoln “I am in favour of animal rights as well as human rights this is the way of a whole human being.” He means that people who are humans who respect other humans should also respect animals. Though many do not feel that way there are many Acts and laws brought in to control them. Legal definition for animal cruelty is killing, maiming, poisoning is rendering useless of any animal.

Types of Animal Cruelty

  1. Simple neglect: this is an act where animals are avoided by not giving food, shelter, water, etc. this is one of the common forms of animal cruelty which is found everywhere. One example of simple neglect would be owners tieing chains around the dog’s neck and not belting it. Many owners do not keep the dogs inside the house but outside the house where the animal suffers in all kinds of weather.
  • Gross neglect: This can also be called as intentional neglect. There is a line of difference between simple neglect and gross neglect. In simple neglect, they do not have any intention to act cruelly. But in gross neglect, they willfully treat the animal without adequate care. An example of this type of cruelty will be throwing stones, sticks on animals.
  • Intentional abuse: intentional abuse is the most toxic form of animal cruelty. This type of offender of intentional abuse not only dangerous for animals but also for the general public. These offenders are also involved in drug offences gang activity, sexual assault, and much other aggressive behaviour.
  • Organized abuse: They use animals such as dogs, cock for fighting and they call it “blood sports.” These activities have been given special attention in the United Kingdom and the United States. In this type of sport, they make two animals fight and kill each other just to make the viewers enjoy.
  • Ritualistic abuse: the animal is been used as one of the major objects in any religious activity. Though there are many laws and regulations to control the human still killing animals in the name of God is prevailing in our society. All these activities are not only cruel but are also disturbing. The killing of animals in the name of God is not connected with the religion and it amounts to animal cruelty.
  • Animal sexual assault: This is an act where humans are attracted to other non-human but a living organism. This act of using animals for sexual intercourse is an act that is wrong legally. This is called Bestiality. This type of animal cruelty is an upcoming one and awareness for such activities has to be increased.

Constitutional Validity

  • Under the Indian Constitution animal lives and welfare towards animals have been recognized as a fundamental duty of every citizen to take care of the animal with love and compassion. Article 51A (G) states that every citizen has to protect wildlife and should have compassion for all living creatures.
  • Article 48 of the Indian Constitution states- Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry: The State shall endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
  • Article 48A states -Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife: The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
  • The list II (state list), 7th Schedule provides that the state has the authority to preserve, protect, and improve veterinary care and enforce for the training and practice of veterinary such that animal diseases can be prevented.
  • In list III ( concurrent list), provides that both the central and state have the authority to prevent animals and protect wildlife and birds.
  • Article 243G- Powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the Legislature of a State may, by law, endow the Panchayats with such powers and authority and may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and such law may contain provisions for the devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats, at the appropriate level, subject to such conditions as may be specified therein, concerning

(a) the preparation of plans for economic development and social justice;(b) the implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them including those concerning the matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule

Statutory Provision for Animal Cruelty

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act is for the protection of animals from any illegal act of cruelty. Some of the notable points of

Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960:

  • Section 11(a) to (o) has provided different forms of cruelty towards animals. The law under this Act prohibits cruelty towards animals and provides the guidelines for the transportation of animals.
  • It is illegal to kill homeless animals.
  • Section 3 of the act provides various duties for an individual to take care of animals and not to harm them.

The protection of wildlife animals and birds are governed under

Wild Life Protection Act 1972

Some of the provisions under this Act are:

  • Section 39 of the Act provides for the prohibition of any harm like the sacrifice of animals or any injury towards an animal. The penalties for such animal injury or harm are mentioned under Section 51 of the Wild Life Protection Act.
  • It is also stated that it is illegal to keep any Indian Bird as a pet and if any individual does so has to follow the guidelines provided under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1956.
  • Section 2(37) of the Act states the definition of wildlife animals which include any animal, aquatic, or land vegetation.
  • Section 9 of that Act deals with the prohibition for hunting wild animals and it is punishable with three years imprisonment or with a fine of a maximum of twenty-five thousand or both.
  • Section 48A of the Act states that there can be no transportation of any wild animal, bird, or plant without permission from the chief wildlife warden or any official by the State Government.
  • Section 50 of this Act gives the authority to the police to arrest any person indulging in such legal acts without a warrant.
  • Schedule 1 to 4 of the wildlife protection  Act provides for the protection of marine species like Sea horse, Sea fans, etc.
  • Dolphins also come under Schedule 1 of the Act as they are recognized as National Aquatic Animal of India. It is stated that the usage of dolphins for entertainment purposes is banned in the country. 

Performing Animals Rules, 1973

Provides for the Laws relating to animals which are used for entertaining purpose. Some of the notable features are:

  •  It states that no animal shall be used for entertainment without prior permission or registration under the Act.
  • Section 26 of the Act provides for the punishment up to rupees five hundred or with imprisonment up to three months or both.
  • Experimenting and dissection on animals are banned in schools and colleges in India.

The Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 2014

  • The Second Amendment of the Drug and Cosmetics Rules has prohibited the testing of Cosmetic products on animals in India.
  • Any person who uses animals for testing of Cosmetic products is punishable for a term of 3 to 10 years or liable for a fine which can be up to 10,000 or both.
  • In the Fifth Amendment Rule 135B of the Act states that no cosmetics should be imported to the country if it is tested on animals. 


Humans are one with all sorts of sophistication and comfort, still we tend to harm others and animals. Animals that are in the street do not even have proper food and many are maul-nutrition. We are the ones who should take care of it rather than harming it. Though many laws are passed still these types of activities exist making many NGOs work towards this and for the betterment of animal living. It is concluded that we have originated from animals but now contradiction to that we treat animals without any compassion. The individual should change which will change the society.


  1. What is Animal Cruelty in a common man understanding?

A common man’s understanding regarding animal cruelty would be harmful behaviour towards animals which can be neglect by not taking adequate care to the killing of an animal.

2. What are the types of animal cruelty?

  • Simple Cruelty
  • Gross Neglect
  • Intentional Abuse
  • Ritualistic Abuse


  1. Animal Cruelty: A Review, Journal of Natural Sciences Research ISSN 2224-3186 (Paper) ISSN 2225-0921 (Online) Vol.3, No.8, 2013.
  5. Constitution of India
  6. Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960
  7. Wild Life Protection Act, 1972
  8. The Performing Animals Rules, 1973
  9. The Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 2014

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